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JustLuckey 04-30-2011 12:59 AM

Hello, I drive a big truck and I like efficiency
Hey folks, I'm glad I stumbled on to this site. It seems to be right up my alley. First, let me give some background on myself.
I'm 34, married, and have my first child (son) due in about a week. I live in Northeast PA, have a bachelor's degree, and am a project manager for an engineering firm.
My current vehicles are:
2005 Dodge Ram 2500 QC SB 4x4 w/5.9 Cummins (auto)
2008 Toyota Camry V6
I know, they aren't your typical eco-type vehicles, but let me continue...

I did have 2006.5 VW Jetta TDI. We loved the car, consistently got 42-45 mpg and put 115,000 miles on it in less than 4 years (we commute a lot). The turbo (actually, the wastegate) went on it (out of warranty) and the DSG tranny started to show signs of problems. With a pregnant wife and winter coming, we wanted a more reliable car. So enter, the Camry.

Anyhow, my truck is my focus for this site. The 3/4 ton rig, as you may know, doesn't have any EPA estimates on MPGs. From being a member on several forums and having a few friends with various models of Dodges with the 5.9 Cummins, I have seen City mpg range from 13-16 and hwy 16-20. A lot has to do with gearing (I have a 3.73 in mine), but the 4.10 is a fuel pig. When I first got my truck, I was seeing ~15-17 city and 18-20 hwy.

I'd done a few mods and am now seeing 18-20 city and 24-26 hwy. My goal is 30 mpgs on the highway, but we'll see. I still have a few mods to make. It's worth mentioning, that my numbers above come from hand calculation. As my OBC is very optimistic. On highway, when I'm doing the speed limit, it quite often reads 30-33 mpg (I wish).

My wife and I make several trips to GA every year. It's about a 850 mile trip. We've made it half way thru SC before fill up (750 miles or so). My next milestone is GA border (which is ~780 miles), then the 800 mile marker is the following milestone. Ultimately, getting to our destination without a fill-up would be awesome.

Here's my current list, in chronological order, if I recall.
5" Turbo back exhaust with free-flow (too loud though) muffler (RPM Outlet)
Solid fold tonneau cover (Extang)
Fuel Mgmt tuner (Quadzilla)
Larger intake manifold elbow (Banks)
K&N (larger than stock) filter
Michelin Low Rolling Resistance Tires (slightly taller/skinnier size than stock)
Bully Dog Triple Dog Gauge/tuner (normally set to stock tune)
I often run / rotate fuel additives (Power Service white or grey and Lucas diesel treatment.

I just got my flex-a-lite electric fan this week and hope to install it soon.
Future mods include:
Cab-high cap
Air dam to fit under bumper (this is a stock item that the previous owner removed)
More free flowing exhaust manifold (BD or aFe)
Manual Locking front hubs (Dynatrac or other)
Upgraded (more efficient) torque converter (Few option)
Larger, more free flowing intercooler (Banks)
2nd overdrive gear (article in diesel power mag)
At some point, a water/methanol injection kit (Snow Performance)

My goal has always to do efficiency upgrades without losing any feature or amenity (deleting the power steering, AC, or wipers are not options), to keep the look close to stock, and to keep it useful for what my intent for it is (hauling dirt, mulch, wood, towing, commuting long distances).

I'm open for other areas/ideas of improvement....with my list, I think the main issue is aerodynamics....which will be tough to keep a relatively stock look intact.

Anyhow, I thought I'd introduce myself. Oh yeah, I made my own biodiesel for 2.5 years.

euromodder 04-30-2011 07:00 AM

Welcome to ecomodder.

It's going to take more than a wee bit of hypermiling techniques and aeromodding to get to your goal.

There are some users on EM with higher MPG trucks, like users BamZipPow, Jiggerman or Big Dave.
Seek them out in the EM garage or in the forums, see what they've done, and copy whatever you can.

Weather Spotter 04-30-2011 11:56 AM

Welcome to EM.

I would recommend looking through our wiki for mod ideas and to see what each mod can do for you.

Car MPG Efficiency Modifications Main - EcoModder

RobertSmalls 04-30-2011 04:31 PM


Originally Posted by JustLuckey (Post 235123)
I'm open for other areas/ideas of improvement....with my list, I think the main issue is aerodynamics....which will be tough to keep a relatively stock look intact.

I agree on both points. However, perhaps you could start with a grille block made of black coroplast attached to the inside of the grille, in addition to gasketing the panel gaps with weatherstripping. Rear wheel skirts and a streamlined hard shell bed cap would be ideal, but those are harder to hide.

I would try to find ways to make aeromods look good, even if they aren't stock. e.g. a mudflap delete, or a large front airdam that looks factory, even though it was never offered on a Ram.

And welcome to EcoModder! The more engineers, the merrier.

blade 05-03-2011 10:24 PM

welcome to em. good luck

Diesel_Dave 06-03-2011 01:05 PM

Not sure if you're still out there JustLuckey, but I'll chime in.

I'm in a similar boat: I have a 2007 3/4-ton. I have the 6.7-liter rather than the 5.9-liter, but there's not a whole lot of difference. Mine is only 2wd and have a manual tranny (a big help). Your goals are reasonable: I've gotten 25.3 mpg on my last 3 tanks, and I've done 912 miles on a tank (I assume you have a 34 gal tank). I haven't done any aeromods yet, either.

I don't know if there's a difference between the 2005 & 2007, but removing the wipers is really easy on my truck. I can literally take them on/off in under 5 seconds. There's a little clip where they attach. You just flip back the clip and pull it right off. I take mike off and keep them in the truck. If it looks like rain, I pull out the driver's wiper and slap it on. I'm not sure how much it really helps, but I figure it can't hurt.

FYI, my OBC reads high as well (~2-4 mpg high). I use it to tell how well I'm doing, but don't trust the actual number.

You say you have a tuner, but a just running stock. Why? You can get quite a bit of mpg benefit by just running some good tunes. Also, you should be able to get a nice benefit from removing the EGR system, or at least turning it off with a tune.

I'm interested in you're electric fan install as well, let me know how it goes.

JustLuckey 06-03-2011 01:32 PM

It's been awhile since I've posted...I had my first child (my son, William) 3 weeks ago and have been focusing on him most of the time.

Anyhow, since I last posted, I got my flex-a-lite electric fan installed to replace the mechanical one. It's definitely much quieter, but it's too early to know if it affected fuel mileage. I also purchased a used (cab high) ARE bed cap last weekend. I'm hoping the combination shows another 1mpg or 2. I'll have a better idea when we take a family trip to GA at the end of the month. Although we'll be stopping more to feed my little guy.

I'm not real keen on removing the wipers. One of my main goals is not to remove the functionality and normal amenities of the vehicle. I'd hate to remove the wipers (even on a nice day) and forget and try to use them to wash off the pollen (in full force here in PA) and scratch the glass. Good thought though.

Regarding the tuners (I actually have 2). The first one I got was the Quadzilla MPG-MAX, that I upgraded to a Xilalraider (SP?). This one has a bunch of different factory tunes to choose from. It mainly does 2 things. 1) adjusts fuel delivery (if you floor it, it won't gush the fuel, it will slowly buildup fuel flow- bad for burn outs, good for MPGs). 2) Boost Fool, it will turn off the boost limiter, allowing the truck to go over the stock (24psi, I think on mine) allowing better accell. The QuadZ plugs in under the hood to the fuel mgmt system.
My other tuner is a BullyDog GT (Gauge/Tuner). It allows 'on the fly' adjustments (Stock, Tow, Performance, Extreme). I noticed that anything higher than Stock, produces a good bit of black smoke (read, unburned fuel). So that's why I normally drive on the stock setting. When I want more power, I will use the Tow or Performance. I haven't used Extreme, as it warns about possible tranny problems/breakage if you're still running stock tranny and/or stock torque converter (which I am running stock of both).

I will update in a few weeks when I do my 850+ mile trip to GA.

And yes, I have the 34 gallon tank that comes with the short beds vs. the 35 gal in the long beds.

bestclimb 06-03-2011 02:06 PM

regarding the wipers. I don't think they are talking about the rubber blades, but the whole arm.

euromodder 06-03-2011 02:30 PM


Originally Posted by JustLuckey (Post 242804)
It's been awhile since I've posted...I had my first child (my son, William) 3 weeks ago and have been focusing on him most of the time.

Congratulations :thumbup:

JustLuckey 06-04-2011 09:55 AM


Originally Posted by bestclimb (Post 242815)
regarding the wipers. I don't think they are talking about the rubber blades, but the whole arm.

OK, I misunderstood.

I don't want to split hairs, but for me, it's still outside my scope of mods. I can appreciate and I commend those who come up with unique ways of making their vehicles more efficient/aerodynamic, but my goal is to keep it as close to stock looking, as possible, without losing basic functions. If I make a mod, I want virtually no upkeep/work involved after the install. Like my LRR tires. Once installed, no extra maintenance.

In my situation, my wife drives the truck a good bit. (she also fills it up occasionally, which is why I don't always have a good gauge of my mpgs) Although she appreciates my efficiency interests, she doesn't want it to add steps or negatively affect her driving experience. I used to make & run biodiesel in my truck, but (in the winter) she would have to remember to hit a switch on the dash to turn on the in-line fuel and tank heaters. I love my wife, but she didn't always love remembering to hit the switch. I'll say no more....

I am going to continue to lurk and be interested in the knowledge, opinions, and posts on here.

Thanks for such an informational forum. I'll post eco numbers soon. Time to go feed my son. :)

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